The three-and-a-half-day course on Redemptorist spirituality was directed and animated by Fr. Piotr (Peter) Chyla C.Ss.R., director of the Centre of Redemptorist Spirituality and an expert on the subject who arrived from Rome. More than one hundred people took part, including professed Redemptorists and lay Redemptorists partners in the mission, coming from different parts of Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay. Intense listening, learning, reflection and celebration sessions on important topics of the Redemptorist charism and spirituality characterised the days of July 11-14, 2023, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
For the lay people who participated in this precious course, it meant a special time and space of God’s grace since, together with our professed brothers, we received fundamental lessons on the being and doing of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. As we were listening to Fr. Piotr about the origins of the Redemptorist charism (18th century in Naples), the context and the circumstances in which Alphonsus Liguori intuited the mandate of service to the abandoned of St. Mary of the Mount, clarifies for us wonderfully the motive and the fundamental purpose that must shape the being, living and doing of the whole Redemptorist family. On the other hand, we now know that terms such as poor, abandoned, incarnation, mission, creative fidelity, and prophetic community are the necessary ingredients with which we, both professed and lay, must make up Redemptorist spirituality in today’s world.
But undoubtedly, one theme that drew special attention to us lay people was our participation in the Redemptorist charism and mission. Fr. Piotr, referring to important documentation, let us realise that from the beginning of our history, St. Alphonsus and later St. Clement Hofbauer called the laity to participate in their missionary journeys. Knowing this fact undoubtedly fills us lay Redemptorists with great joy. Knowing that we were invited and present at the beginning of the Congregation fills us with healthy pride. At the same time, however, it confronts us, the laity of the third millennium, with the challenge of continuing the journey started by those lay people of Naples in the 18th century. It is a path of dedication to the poor and abandoned of the centre and the periphery of post-modern cities. It is a path of service to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. This service must be interpreted according to criteria of cooperation, complementation and reciprocity with our professed Redemptorist brothers.
We are grateful to Fr. Boris Calzadilla C.Ss.R., provincial superior, and all the professed Redemptorist brothers who worked so hard in the organisation and realisation of the course. Our heartfelt thanks also go to Fr. Piotr Chyla C.Ss.R. for having kindled the flame of the Redemptorist fire in the laity. Thank you very much.
Víctor Romero Morales – Coordinator of the Lay Redemptorists of Bolivia